Choose one of the questions below for your essay response, or discuss another topic of interest based on our class literary readings. You are not required to include outside research for this essay. Your paper should be 5 6 typed, double-spaced pages. Please see the (attached) English Department’s rubric for the grading criteria. I have sample essay outlines for questions #1 – 6 and will post these detailed outlines throughout the next few weeks.
- Achilles set the model for a kind of heroism still immensely influential in the imagination of the West. His rage, egotism, and the motives that drive his tragic, obsessive behavior are compelling. Who is the true hero of the Iliad Achilles or Hector?
- Both Achilles and Hector are heroic, courageous, and vulnerable. Both realize that they are fated to die, although they are helped by the gods. The proud runner and the Trojan warrior have strengths of character and possess positive characteristics as well as flaws. Compare and contrast these two Homeric heroes.
- Consider the presentation of the gods in Homer’s epic poem. What is the gods’ role? Do they control humans? Do humans have free will? Are the gods simply fickle, or do they support some essential order?
- Although Medea is a woman, Euripides has presented her as a figure previously thought of as exclusively male – a hero. Analyze her character in the play as a combination of the salient qualities of Achilles.
- Sophocles’ Antigone is both admirable and troubling as a heroine, and despite characters’ statements to the contrary, she reveals the power and influence that women in the Greek culture held. She defies Creon, the guard, and the law of Thebes, and through her actions, she gains the sympathy of of the populace, her sister, Tiresias, and Haimon. While her determination and independence are admirable, Antigone’s apparently self-destructive resignation (she does not try to escape her punishment or to deny the charges that are made against her) lends a complexity to her character that is troubling. Are you sympathetic to her character?
- Despite their marked differences, Sophocles’ Antigone and Creon also share similarities as both are stubbornly loyal to their values, both are powerful figures, and both characters are outsiders. Compare and contrast these two characters from Sophocles’ Antigone.
- Compare the chorus in the two Greek tragedies.
The Iliad, Homer
Feel free to pick which ever prompt is easiest for you to respond to. Please write in MLA format. Feel free to ask me any questions. Thanks